New York Mets right-hander Max Scherzer recorded a quality start on Tuesday in a loss against the Cincinnati Reds (box score) in his first big-league appearance since suffering an oblique injury in May. Scherzer departed when the game was tied at 0-0, meaning he did not factor into the decision.
Scherzer's final line saw him throw six shutout frames, over the course of which he allowed two hits and struck a batter with a pitch. He also punched out 11 batters, throwing 57 of his 79 pitches for strikes (that's 72 percent, for those wondering). Scherzer's fastball averaged 94.6 mph, a full tick better than his seasonal norm according to Statcast's calculations. He generated 15 whiffs as well, including seven on the nine swings taken on his slider.
Prior to the injury, Scherzer had posted a 2.54 ERA (160 ERA+) and a 5.36 strikeout-to-walk ratio in eight starts since joining the Mets over the offseason. Scherzer, of course, inked a two-year contract worth $86 million that includes a player option for the 2024 season.
Scherzer had been one of four notable Mets starters on the injured list, alongside Jacob deGrom (nearing his own return and season debut), Chris Bassitt and Tylor Megill. (Joey Lucchesi, another potential member of New York's rotation, has been sidelined since last summer because of Tommy John surgery.) Despite the absences of those players, the Mets had nevertheless remained in first place in the National League East.
Indeed, the Mets entered play on Tuesday with a 50-30 record on the year, putting them 3 ½ games ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the division. The Mets' plus-60 run differential ranked as the best in the division as well, albeit by a thin margin over both the Braves (plus-58) and the Philadelphia Phillies (plus-56).